FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Media Contact: Molly Moses
Fifth Round of Hardest Hit Funds Allows OHFA to Continue the Fight Against Foreclosure and Blight, Awards funds to 18 Counties
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) today announced the recipients of additional funding under the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP), a program designed to help prevent foreclosures and stabilize local property values through the demolition and greening of vacant and blighted homes across the state. Eighteen participating counties with established land banks were awarded a portion of $191 million in funding available through the fifth round of the Hardest Hit Fund Program.
The 18 counties receiving an increase in funding through NIP are:
"Blight continues to be a problem across the state, in many cases effecting property values and increasing the risk of foreclosure," commented Doug Garver, OHFA's Executive Director. "The improvement that results from eliminating these properties in neighborhoods directly impacts homeowners by reducing many of the subsequent factors, such as an increased crime rate, that adversely affect property values."
A calculation based on each county's request and spend-down rate was used to determine how much each county would receive. Recipients were required to demonstrate substantial or exceptional progress toward demolishing vacant and blighted properties under the program.
As with previous rounds, the maximum amount of assistance per property is $25,000, with an estimated average amount of assistance of $14,000. Nearly 2,700 blighted structures were already removed, with an additional 250 units pending approval as a result of the first four funding rounds.
OHFA is partnering with twenty-one land banks across the state to focus blight elimination efforts in target areas where the demolition and greening of vacant homes will assist in preventing a further reduction in property values and the foreclosure of neighboring, occupied residential homes. Awardees are responsible for all aspects of the property acquisition and removal as well as plans for greening and ongoing maintenance of the property.
In late September, OHFA will once again begin taking applications from homeowners who have struggled to keep up with mortgage due to unemployment. $25 million has been allocated to assist homeowners with bringing and keeping their mortgages current. For information visit Savethedream.ohio.gov.
With the conclusion of the Fifth Round of funding, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has now allocated a total of $762.3 million in Hardest Hit Funds to OHFA to administer the state's foreclosure prevention programs.
For specific details of how HHF funds have been utilized in Ohio, please refer to http://treasury.gov/hhf.
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About the Ohio Housing Finance Agency
OHFA is a self-supporting quasi-public agency governed by an eleven member board. The Agency uses federal and state resources to provide housing opportunities for families and individuals through programs designed to develop, preserve and sustain affordable housing throughout the state of Ohio.